Westerly, RI Part-time Police Officers Ask Court for Injunction to Stop Illegal Forced Dues Scheme
Hello and welcome to this National Right To Work news update.
In Westerly, Rhode Island, five part-time police officers are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop town and union officials from continuing to illegally seize a portion of every paycheck for dues to a union that does not represent them.
With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Thomas Cimalore, Anthony Falcone, Scott Ferrigno, Darrell Koza, and Raymond Morrone, filed a Civil Rights lawsuit in the United States District Court against the Town of Westerly, several town officials, and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights (and other state labor and whistle blower protection statutes) are violated when they are forced, as a condition of employment, to financially support Local 503 despite never authorizing or requesting that the town withhold a portion of their paycheck and distribute those funds to Local 503.
Because Rhode Island is a forced-unionism state, workers who choose not to join a union can still be forced to pay fees to union bosses under a union-imposed contract.
However, these five part-time officers are not only nonmembers; they are not even represented under the police union’s monopoly bargaining agreement with Westerly. Despite this, a clause in the union contract with Westerly specifically states that, although not covered by the agreement, these part-time officers are required to pay union fees.
The illegal union deductions from the five part-time police officers paychecks began in April 2014. During the summer of 2014, the plaintiffs allege that the chief of police threatened retaliation against the officers for having publicly raised the issue of this illegal forced-dues scheme.
Following the officers public attempt at redress, the Town revised its “Detail Assignment System” in such a manner that it diminished plaintiffs’ hours and pay. The timing and circumstances of the revision caused the officers to allege the revision was retaliation by the town for their whistle-blowing about the illegal scheme.
Furthermore, on December 4, 2014, Westerly fired plaintiff Darrell Koza without notice or a hearing. Officer Koza has filed a separate suit alleging that his termination was illegal retaliation for publicly speaking out against the illegal scheme. Video Rating: / 5
“A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.
In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”
John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.”
Read More Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/flip-off-police_n_2403563.html
Ana Kasparian (http://www.twitter.com/anakasparian) and Dave Rubin (http://www.twitter.com/rubinreport) of The Young Turks discuss.
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Police Shooting, Flipping The Bird, E-Cigs & Parking Dispute – The Young Turks 1/21/2015 Social Commentary
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Westerly, Rhode Island (July 28, 2015) – Five part-time police officers in Westerly, RI have filed a Civil Rights lawsuit against the Town of Westerly, several town officials, and International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 503 (Local 503) in U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs are receiving free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation.
Thomas Cimalore, Anthony Falcone, Scott Ferrigno, Darrell Koza, and Raymond Morrone, brought the suit and seek declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief because a portion of every paycheck (at a rate of an hour) is being confiscated by the town and paid directly to Local 503.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights (and other state labor and whistle blower protection statues) are violated when they are forced, as a condition of employment, to financially support Local 503 despite never authorizing or requesting that the town withhold a portion of their paycheck and distribute those funds to Local 503.
Because Rhode Island lacks a Right to Work law, and is a forced-unionism state, workers who choose not to join a union can still be forced to pay fees to union bosses as a condition of employment if they labor under a union-imposed contract. However, these 5 part-time officers are not only nonmembers; they are not even represented under Local 503’s monopoly bargaining agreement with the Town of Westerly. Despite that, a clause in the union contract specifically states that, although not covered by the agreement, part-time officers are required to pay a fee to Local 503.
The deductions began about the beginning of April 2014. After noticing the deductions, the officers brought them to the attention of the town’s payroll department. On July 29, 2014, some of the officers met with the Chief of Police, Edward St. Clair, to express their concerns about the unconstitutional and illegal clause in the agreement between the town and Local 503. The complaint alleges that when the officers told St. Clair they planned to publicly speak out, St. Clair admonished them, noting that as part-time officers they could easily be replaced.
In November 2014, the Town revised its “Detail Assignment System” which it uses to allocate all “private duty” assignments (all part-time officers only work private duty). The pay for private duty is 38 dollars an hour. The system was revised in such a manner that it diminished plaintiffs’ hours and pay. The timing and circumstances of the revision caused the officers to allege the revision was retaliation by the town for their questioning the illegal forced fee arrangement.
Moreover, on December 4, 2014, plaintiff Darrell Koza was fired with neither notice nor a hearing. In addition to the five officers’ lawsuit, Koza has filed a separate suit alleging that his termination was illegal retaliation for publicly speaking out against the illegal scheme.
“In an elaborate and blatantly unconstitutional scheme, union bosses and bureaucrats joined forces to confiscate 13% of every paycheck from hardworking part-time police officers,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“These five individuals simply wanted to serve their community; instead they are forced to subsidize the special interests of union bosses who do not even represent them. The scheme itself is outrageous, but it is just as shameful that, when these officers asked questions about why their rights were being violated, they also found themselves subject to threats and retaliation,” continued Mix. Video Rating: / 5
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Body camera footage has been released from the night of a fatal officer-involved shooting in Marksville that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy and left his father critically wounded.
The highly controversial case has remained sealed, but during a pretrial hearing Wednesday, Judge William Bennett ruled that the footage can be released to the public.
The judge also ruled that the two officers involved and charged in the case, Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford, will have separate trials after denying a motion filed by the defense.
The shooting happened Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 around 9:30 p.m. During the hearing prosecutors argued that as the shooting began, Chris Few, the father of the slain child Jeremy Mardis, can be seen with his hands raised.
Parish investigators initially said marshals were chasing Few because of an outstanding warrant. However, WAFB checked with the Clerk of Court, the District Attorney’s Office, Marksville Police Department and City Court and did not find any outstanding warrants. Col. Mike Edmonson said so far, their investigation shows the same.
The shooting was captured by Marksville Police officer Sgt. Kenneth Parnell who said he responded to the pursuit after hearing the call on the radio.
The first few minutes of video released has no audio, so it’s not clear when the first shots are fired. The video does show Few with his hands up and out of the vehicle. When sound does kick in, it is deafening gunfire and sirens.
As the video continues, Parnell can be heard calling in the shooting to dispatch, but it takes about two minutes for anyone to approach the SUV. Another officer can be heard telling Few to show his hands several times.
When officers do approach, it appears they discovery Few’s 6-year-old son Jeremy.
Parnell then walks back to Greenhouse and Stafford; both men’s names are visible on their shirts. It sounds like the Parnell tells them about Jeremy, and Greenhouse appears to respond, “Don’t tell me that, bro.”
It’s also at that point that other officers begin to arrive on scene, and someone asks if Few is armed. Investigators would later confirm that Few was not armed, despite conflicting early reports.
It also takes some time for officers to render aid, asking several times for gloves as Few fell from the car. Seven minutes into the video, the officer goes over to Jeremy’s lifeless body to check for a pulse.
At some point, the video again shows Stafford who asked if Few was hit. Few was injured but survived.
“Man, I didn’t see a kid in the car,” Greenhouse can be heard saying.
During the pretrial hearing, other evidence provided was a testimony by Trooper Rodney Owens, the lead detective on the investigation. He said that out of 18 shells found, 14 came from Stafford’s gun. The other four came from Greenhouse’s gun.
Jeremy Mardis was struck five times and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The trial for Stafford is set for a November 28 and Greenhouse’s trial is scheduled for March 13. Video Rating: / 5
People with criminal records often face obstacles to obtaining affordable housing. They can be denied housing based on arrests without subsequent convictions, old and outdated convictions, or criminal records that have nothing to do with a person’s ability to be a good tenant. In this webinar moderated by the Shriver Center’s Marie Claire Tran-Leung, the presenters shared their experiences using litigation and advocacy to eliminate such barriers to federally subsidized housing and to housing in the private rental market. The presenters were John Relman of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, Fred Fuchs of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and Laura Tuggle of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. Video Rating: / 5